Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, told us that we all make up the body of Christ, and Jesus is the head.
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:22-23)
Every body has many parts, and each part fulfills a particular role. Do you know what part of the body of Christ you are? Are you fulfilling your purpose?
Three Organizational Components in the Body of Christ
A Christian leader should understand how the body of Christ is organized so they can ascertain their assignment from God, submit to it, and function fully in it. Ephesians 4:11 lists the ministry gifts that Jesus has given to the church. They are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
The first organizational component is educational. It is fulfilled primarily by teachers, but also by prophets and apostles. Pastors will teach, but not all pastors are anointed as teachers. Everyone may be able to instruct, but when someone stands in the office of teacher, they are anointed to communicate, dissect, and connect the Word at a level beyond natural ability. A minister may have one office call, or he or she may have several. The Apostle Paul had three; he was a teacher, a prophet, and an apostle.
The second organizational component is maintenance. The pastor, who is a shepherd, is charged with the responsibility of keeping the flock. Pastors exhort, preach, or even discipline from Scripture. They may carry other ministry gifts. Some are teachers, some are apostles or prophets, but their main job is maintaining the flock.
The third organizational component of the body of Christ is recruitment. Jesus told us all to go into all the world and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15), but those who stand in the office of evangelist carry an anointing to draw the lost to Jesus. New Testament Evangelists’ anointing includes gifts of healing and working of miracles. I often call those gifts of the Spirit the dinner bell to the lost. When someone is healed of an incurable disease by the name of Jesus, their appetite for Jesus increases tremendously.
One Body, Many Assignments, All Anointed
The body of Christ is one, but every member of the body is unique.
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? (1 Corinthians 12:27-30)
Please note that 1 Corinthians 12:27-30 is talking about gifts that function publicly for the good of the body of Christ. When Paul asked, “do all speak with tongues?” he was not implying that every believer couldn't pray in tongues. In this particular verse, he was talking about tongues given in a public assembly for interpretation. Tongues with interpretation are equal to the gift of prophecy. This manifestation of tongues is different than praying in the Spirit, which every believer should do.
Another vital point of 1 Corinthians 12:27-30 is that it covers the gamut of roles in the body of Christ, and not one is left out. Apostles are listed as being first, not as a matter of hierarchy, but of process. Apostles are first because they begin a work, a church, or a Bible school. Prophets are listed next. Their role is to be God’s mouthpiece to the body. They may divulge information that God knows about current or future events. They may warn, but they also encourage and share revelation of the Word with the body of Christ. Teachers are next. They fulfill the educational component. Miracles and gifts of healings are the evangelists’ specialty. Governments include maintenance. In other words, these are the pastors. Helps consists of every member of the body of Christ not already listed. Pastors can't run an entire church alone. He needs people to handle administrative issues, ushers, children's church teachers, kitchen and hospitality staff, and many others. Every one of these is anointed in the same way the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. It's a different anointing with different responsibilities, but still, it is an anointing from the Holy Ghost. Every part of the body of Christ has a role to fill. As we get into our places and serve, God will build us up individually and corporately.
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:16)
Find Your Place
Every Christian has an anointing weighing on them that will cause them to do what they could never do alone. God will give you wisdom, understanding, knowledge, grace, money, or whatever else you need to accomplish His assignment. But you have to accept it first; you’ve got to say, “Yes, Lord. I’ll go where You want me to go and do what You want me to do.”
How do you find your place? How can you know what place God has for you in the body of Christ? Pray in tongues. Yes, that’s how I discovered my call to pastor over 40 years ago. I knew I was called to the ministry, but I didn’t know what my particular assignment was. I had to search it out, and you must too. I didn’t run around and ask a bunch of prophets or preachers. I got under my dining room table and prayed in the Spirit for hours at a time. I did this for several months until one day, the Lord Jesus showed up under that table with me and told me to turn to Romans 10:8. It reads, But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach. Then He told me to start a church in Detroit and call it Word of Faith.
Everything Works Out in the End
When you pray in the Spirit, the Holy Ghost takes hold together with you against anything standing in your way.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)
The word mind means purpose in Greek. In other words, if you are seeking God’s purpose for your life, you should pray in tongues. Praying God’s perfect will in the Spirit moves obstacles out of the way.
And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
The word purpose in the often-quoted Romans 8:28 means intentional choice. A more literal translation of Romans 8:28 would be: All things are forced to cooperate for the benefit of those who have found their place in the body of Christ and fulfill God’s assignments.
It doesn’t get much better than that! Even when you come up against tough times, once you have made the intentional choice to do what God has called and anointed you to do, everything will work out in the end.